Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art

  • NFQ Level 7
  • Points Required 340*
  • Course Code AU822
  • Award Ordinary Bachelor Degree Abinitio
  • Duration 3

Course Summary

The degree is designed to offer students the widest possible experience in materials and media - drawing, painting, digital media photography and video, ceramics, printmaking, sculptural studies, work in context, visual literacy and visual material culture, and history/theory of art. These are taught with a focus on the student’s own research and art-making initiatives as the years progress.


The obvious answer is to help you acquire the skills that will help you to become an artist. Studying Fine Art encourages students to develop individual ways of thinking and of expressing themselves in visual and theoretical terms. It fosters an awareness and responsiveness to the world around and within. It recognises the value of individual approaches and provides an environment for learning and confidence building that show in numerous personal and professional ways. One of the most important things to remember about Fine Art is that there is no map, no agreed way of doing things. Here at ATU Sligo, we provide students with the skills and resources to make this an exciting journey.

YAADA Showcase 2024


Students are equipped with the practical skills, knowledge, and intellectual resources necessary for a rewarding career in the arts. Contemporary and historical art practices are examined through a series of lectures, seminars and written assignments.

As students progress through the degree, there is an increasing emphasis on individual research and outcomes. External engagements include a regular visiting artist lecture series and national and international study trips. Students have opportunities to engage with collaborative projects with local and national art institutions.


Modules include Visual Literacy, Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Visual and Material Culture, Digital Lens-Based Media and Ceramics.


Students develop their skills from the modules introduced in Year 1 as advanced modules in Year 2. There are six modules in Year 2 - Drawing, Painting, Digital Lens Based Media, Ceramics, Printmaking, and Visual and Material Culture.


Students move from set practice modules to one overall studio module where they develop their practice in their own direction and increase their use of individual studio space. Sculpture and Drawing Modules lend extra areas for development and expression. History and Theory of Art and the Work-In Context modules complement the practical modules. Work in Context offers real-world experience within the arts sector and students often complete this module through organising public art events and curation projects. In Year 3 students work in Creative Interdisciplinary Practice with other creative programmes.

Click here to view our Fine Art Instagram account

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements for CAO courses at ATU Sligo are available for download below:

* CAO points for entry to this degree will include an applicants additional portfolio points. The portfolio points are combined with points from academic results.

This degree is classified on the CAO as a restricted course. Therefore, applicants must apply before the 1st of February.

CAO points are a combination of academic results and a digital portfolio. The portfolio carries a weighting of a maximum of 100 additional points to academic results.


The Digital Portfolio Application has two deadline dates. The digital portfolio must be sent to the Fine Art team in advance of the following portfolio acceptance deadlines:

  • Submission Deadline 1: Wednesday 14th of February 2024
  • Submission Deadline 2: Friday 8th of March 2024

There are two very important items to include in a portfolio application:

  1. Links to or photos of a digital portfolio.
  2. Completed application form. Please download the application form here

Digital portfolio's can be uploaded by emailing the Fine Art programme team at

For more information on what to include in your portfolio submission, please view our Fine Art Portfolio Guidelines


For Direct Entry to Year 2, you may apply from the 1st of February up to the 15th of May.

Direct Entry places in Year 2 are given on a rolling basis, and we would encourage direct entry applicants to submit their application as early as possible.

Requirements for Direct Entry are:

• 3 distinctions in a QQI Art and/or Art and Design Course

• Interview

• Portfolio

Please note that all applicants by direct entry are advised to also apply to the CAO for a Stage One place.

Applications by Direct entry can be made on a rolling basis and early application is advisable.

Applications for Direct entry may be submitted directly in same way as for CAO.

Please state if applying.

• Direct entry to Advanced Stage Application Only


• Direct entry to Advanced Stage and CAO Application

Please note Mathematics is not required to study Fine Art in ATU Sligo.

Career Opportunities

While many of our graduates go on to become successful practicing artists including painters, printmakers, sculptors and installation artists, ceramicists, filmmakers and photographers, others choose to make careers in related areas.

Many of our graduates work in arts administration and arts management, exhibition curation, including private and public art administration in local authority art offices, museums and art centres and galleries both nationally and internationally.

Graduates also work in the art education field in schools, colleges and university as well as art education officers in museums and art centres.

Further Study

Level 7 Graduates may progress to the final year of our Level 8 honours degree AU928 Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Fine Art

Our Fine Art graduates frequently pursue postgraduate study in universities in Ireland, the UK and abroad.

Graduates of the Level 8 honours degree often choose to progress to an MFA in Fine Art or related areas such as MA in Arts Management, MA in Principles of Teaching and PHD in Art Research areas.

Graduates of the Level 8 honours degree may also complete a Professional Master of Education (PME) in Art and Design to become a secondary school teacher of Art.

Level 8 Fine Art Graduates may progress to the ATU Sligo Master of Arts in Creative Practice


"It's challenging in a good way. I like how open it is to pursue what you want to do creatively."

Hannah - BA (Hons) in Fine Art graduate, award winner and solo show exhibitionist, Secondary School Art Teacher

"The large studio facilities gave me time, space and freedom to explore multiple mediums. I also appreciated the variety and expanse of books available online and in the library.”

Stephanie - BA (Hons) in Fine Art graduate

Did you know?

We also offer this degree at Level 8 - AU928 Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Fine Art

ATU Sligo Fine Art degrees will accept applicants directly into Year 2 of the programmes. Please see the Entry Requirements tab on this webpage for more information.

Previous study in Art is not an entry requirement.

Final year YAADA students take part in a creative showcase each year. Check out the Yeats Academy of Arts, Design and Architecture Yearbook to see their work.

We are interested in students who want to pursue a career in art-making and related fields. The students on our degree are all ages and come from a wide variety of backgrounds. What unites them is that they are creative and imaginative people who can respond to the world around them in visual terms.

Students have dedicated studio space and access to specialised printmaking, ceramics, photography and digital media and woodwork workshops, housed in our new purpose-built studio block.

The studio lecturers on our BA in Fine Art are passionate about their subjects and are practising artists with national and international reputations.

We pride ourselves on taking care of our students and have year coordinators and individual tutors to assist students through each stage of their development.

It is important to have a good work ethic as a Fine Art student and to love making things.

Drawing is a thinking tool and as such is one of the most important tools the student can have, for this reason we include modules in drawing right through to the end of Year 3.

We want our students to succeed and have a carefully designed series of modules to equip them to be confident and versatile when they graduate. 

We offer a broader range of discipline modules in the first two years. Students specialise in the later part of the course choosing their own path. Students may focus on one discipline if they wish and are equally confident should they choose to mix disciplines.

We offer a strong range of professional modules to help our students to explore their place in the industry including group and individual projects in understanding fine art and related career fields. Supporting our graduating students with career advice and assistance in making postgraduate applications is strongly embedded into our professional modules and our ethos as a degree.

We also offer several shared Modules such as Creative Interdisciplinary Studies, where students are encouraged to engage with tutors and students on research and projects and gain an insight into other parts of the creative industries.

Fine Art students need to take time to immerse themselves in art. We include lots of extra parts in our programme to deepen our student's engagement. These include a regular visiting artist and art industry professional lecture series. Also, national and international study trips to visit museums, galleries and art fairs in Ireland and major European cities including London, Paris, Berlin and Venice.

Click here to view our Fine Art Instagram account


"I felt that I would learn more about different mediums in the ATU Sligo Fine Art degree. It gave me the opportunity to study many different mediums of art from photography and ceramics to print, drawing and painting.

When it comes to modules, I particularly enjoyed learning about oil painting in second year. It was a new medium for me and I loved learning new skills but with freedom. In third year, the Work in Context module gave me the opportunity to interview artists. Here I learnt about the running of an artists day to day job.

The freedom to create and fulfil your own potential helped me flourish as an artist. Especially within my final year, it was like being a practicing artist in a studio yet having lecturers to advise on your work throughout the process.

My long term goal is to be a Secondary School art teacher. I got accepted to University College Cork and TUS Limerick for a Professional Master of Education in Art and Design. I chose UCC and started last September."

Nicole Dolan - BA (Hons) in Fine Art graduate and currently studying a PME in Art and Design

Course Format

Semester 1

Ceramics 2: Extruded Form and Raku Glazing05
Printmaking 2 (Advanced printmaking techniques)05
Painting 2 (Introduction to Painting on Supports)05
Visual and Material Culture 2 (Frameworks of Modernity)05
Digital Lens Based Media Two Intro to Digital Imaging05
Drawing 2 (Foundation in Drawing Mediums)05

Semester 2

Ceramics 1: Introduction to Clay Origins, Processes and Surface Treatments.05
Printmaking 1 (Simple printmaking techniques)05
Visual Literacy05
Painting 1 (Colour, Light and Composition)05
Visual and Material Culture 1 (Introduction & Historical Survey)05
Digital Lens Based Media One Intro Photography Film and Digital05

Semester 3

Visual and Material Culture 3: (The Contemporary World)05
Printmaking 3 (Project based printmaking 1)05
Digital Lens Based Media 3 - Photography05
Painting 3 (Process and Concepts)05
Drawing 3 (Expanding Applications)05
Ceramics 3: Developing Multiples, Press Moulding and Slip Casting05

Semester 4

Painting 4 (Extending the Medium)05
Digital Lens Based Media 4 - Intro to Video Production05
Ceramics 4: Amalgamations, Thrown Form and Glaze Technology.05
Printmaking 4 (Project based printmaking 2)05
Drawing 4 (Sustaining Practices)05
Visual and Material Culture 4 (Art & Social Practice)05

Semester 5

Drawing 5: Identifying Concerns05
History / Theory of Art 1 (Exhibition Catalogue Essay)05
Yeats Academy Creative Interdisciplinary Practice I05
Practice 1: Establishing Direction10
Sculpture Studies: Land Art, Ephemera and the Site Specific.05

Semester 6

History / Theory of Art 2 (Contextual Research)05
Practice 2 : Developing an Exhibition15
Drawing 6: Refining a Practice05
Work in Context (Identifying the Future)05